Public records really help drive these scandals in that they keep the story alive with new details about the players day after day
Beverly Hills, CA (PRWEB) December 9, 2009
Once named in a celebrity sex or other scandal, a previously unheard of person might suddenly find his or her personal life under tabloid and media scrutiny. There’s no better example than the current Tiger Woods scandal. One day, Rachel Uchitel was a New York nightclub promoter known only to friends, family and the jet set party crowd. Within a day or two, reporters from hundreds, if not thousands, of media outlets were looking into her past. The same held true for Jamie Jungers, Jaimee Grubbs, Kalika Moquin and MIndy Lawton. One of the first places reporters look is free lookups on the Internet, says nationally recognized private investigator Robert Scott, who is the owner of Black Book Online, a widely used free public records search site.
“Sometimes, pubic records are a story in and of themselves,” says the Los Angeles-based private investigator . “But just as often, they’re a starting point for further snooping. For example, a tabloid might find an old divorce on file. They track down the ex-husband who just happens to have some racy photos or other dirt, and then next thing you know there’s an exclusive scoop with photos from an unnamed source. Public records really help drive these scandals in that they keep the story alive with new details about the players day after day.”
There’s no better example than the latest alleged Tiger Woods mistress, 33 year old Orlando pancake house waitress Mindy Lawton. Less than a day after she pronounced herself the latest girlfriend in a British tabloid, the Orlando Sentinel came out with a story that she had been in her own drunk driving accident. Gossip website TMZ ran the same story, adorned with a mug shot that was also obtained through public records.
The Mindy Lawton drunk driving story came directly from a free online court search. At the Orange County Florida court,full case details come up – including that the Orlando Sentinel came in yesterday to purchase a copy of the court file. A check of the Orlando Sentinel website shows the story was posted that same day under the headline, “Tiger Woods’ Alleged mistress faces charges in January crash.”
In addition to public records that are held by government agencies, there’s another hot spot on the web that reporters hit first when a story breaks: Social networking sites like My Space and Facebook.
“The media loves the social networking sites because they often contain photos of the person. For example, if there’s a school shooting. It’s a virtual sure bet that the shooter had a My Space page first where he railed against the world,” said Scott.
In the Tiger Woods scandal, alleged girlfriend Jamie Junger’s MySpace page was quickly found under her web moniker ‘MsMarch’. The photo was copied and spread across the globe in thousands of news stories. Does Ms. Jungers mind? Apparently not – as of today, the site and photo remains online and My Space shows that she last logged in today.